Thursday, December 4, 2008

Challenging the designer's Hippocratic oath

What will happen when I have to design something that I morally oppose. Here's the situation: I am doing branding work for a consultancy and am given the task of rebranding Phillip Morris cigarettes. The goal, obviously, is to capture market share by creating a fresh, positive brand image. How can I justify doing this work? Moreover, how can I even do a good job? As a professional designer it is my duty to provide my clients with the best solution possible. But what if I don't? What if I give them a solution that they like, but that is designed to fail? It sounds like sabotage, and it is. Call me an idealist, but I cannot find any honest rationale for effectively completing this type of work. I cannot sell a brand that I believe to be evil.

What if I have to design for a product or brand that is only a little evil? Where do I draw the line? I guess it is a question that can only be answered when the moment arrives, but I dread the idea of abandoning my principles for a paycheck.

Doctors swear an oath to heal all people, good or bad, to the best of their ability. I am glad that I, as a designer, have no Hippocratic oath because I can see myself breaking it.

1 comment:

a.aeschbury said...

You could always decline the job.

PS FUCK YOU for having time to blog this week.